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When in Rome…

This post is part of our Escapes Editor’s Picks series, where LivingSocial travel expert Nick Stafford talks about great destinations to travel and tour.

Try as we might, one lifetime may not be enough to savor all that the world has to offer. From trekking in eco-paradise Patagonia, basking in the history of Istanbul’s blue mosque, crossing paths with good storytellers in Ireland, or rugged adventurers in the American West… with so much to experience, travelers have every right to be picky.

No worries – LivingSocial’s summer wanderlust collection offers a menu of places to go and experience in full splendor. Pick your pleasure; we’ll match it with a destination faster than you can fetch your suitcase. Looking to relax? Choose from serene palm-lined beaches in Costa Rica, or your own cozy cabin on Eagle Lake, ME. Want history? Walk the halls of the Beijing’s Imperial Palace or stand in the footsteps of ancient gladiators in Rome.

Who are your travel pals? For a group of girlfriends, the royal magic of London – complete with unparalleled shopping and museums – may be the ticket. Family time could mean a bike adventure in the Berkshires. A once in a lifetime experience with your main squeeze? Look no further than a weeklong culinary tour in the south of France. Oui oui!

With trips ranging from 2 days to 2 weeks, many with flights options, and the LivingSocial value you’ve come to expect, the world is your oyster with this Escapes collection.

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Dine-N-Dash Returns to DC

Taste buds, get ready — Renowned chef José Andrés’ third annual Dine-N-Dash, benefitting World Central Kitchen, is back on Tuesday, June 9! The progressive culinary tour of Washington, DC’s Penn Quarter encompasses 17 of the area’s finest eateries, each offering specialty dishes and signature cocktails.

Spend the evening enjoying the finest food and libations from award-winning restaurants like China Chilcano, Zaytinya, Cuba Libre and The Partisan, and cap the night off at an after party at Carnegie Library.

Besides benefiting your stomach, the event supports World Central Kitchen, a humanitarian organization founded by Andrés dedicated to finding smart solutions to hunger and poverty. Today, WCK is hard at work in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Zambia, empowering the people to be part of the solution – with a focus on health, hunger, job training, and job creation. Last year, Dine-N-Dash raised more than $175,000 in support of its efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty.

Get tickets exclusively from LivingSocial here! Eat, drink, be merry AND make a difference.

Check out this video for a taste of last year’s Dine-N-Dash:

Take Two from the National Zoo

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Friends of the National Zoo are back with two exciting gifts that will show your mom what a phenomenal kid she’s raised:

If you missed lovin’ on the naked mole rats on Valentine’s Day, don’t worry. The Zoo’s adorable e-card collection is back, this time in black, white, and all sorts of cute.

This Mother’s Day, you can symbolically adopt and gift a giant panda in honor of Mom… and who doesn’t love pandas? For just $10, your mom will get a certificate of adoption, as well as a heartwarming e-card of your choice featuring this endangered, magnificent, and adorable species, and your choice of one of four mom-approved messages:

  • “Great job mom! I turned out awesome.”
  • “Thanks for always being my momma bear.”
  • “Mom, imagining life without you is unbearable.”
  • “Mom, you were right. Don’t make me say it again.”

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The National Zoo is home to three of the 12 giant pandas living in the United States today, including little Bao Bao and her parents Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, all on loan from China. Your donation benefits the conservation and support of more than 1,800 animals at the Zoo and around the world.

If your animal-adoring mom lives close to DC, gift her a night on the town she will never forget with tickets to ZooFari. (If she doesn’t, bring your BFF!)

On Thursday, May 14 from 6:30-9:30pm, Zoo fans and foodies alike can enjoy a wild experience featuring gourmet cuisine from 100+ local DC area restaurants, live music, and much more. And when you buy tickets through LivingSocial, you receive exclusive access to LivingSocial’s Lion Lounge. Special perks include specialty cocktails, craft brews, celebrity chef appearances, and, as the namesake would have it, exclusive views of the lions and tigers. All proceeds benefit the National Zoo.

Lions, and tigers, and panda bears… oh my.

At Caesars Palace, Your Throne Awaits You

This post is part of our Escapes Editor’s Picks series, where LivingSocial travel expert Nick Stafford talks about great destinations to travel and tour.

When you stay at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, you are not a mere guest – you are the one wearing the golden laurel crown yourself! You float above the cheerful mobs, on your own private cloud of lavish comfort. Where fine marble bathrooms and Italian bed linens await you in your emperor-sized bedroom, where the Roman baths (spas may be a more familiar term) with saunas and cascading waterfalls are just steps away, and where private passageways lead you to the gardens and pools.

This award-wining hotel offers an unmatched level of luxury. What’s more, all that luxury is just a stone’s throw away from one of the best restaurants in Vegas — the very French Guy Savoy — and one of the most elegant and spacious pools in Sin City. Don’t feel like going out? Order champagne using Caesars Palace smartphone app and relax in your own in-room spa tub.

Then, if you must, step off your cloud and partake in all the excitement Vegas has to offer. Start your evening at one of the Strip’s famed bars or clubs, move on to the all-you-can-gamble casino buffet, or take your pick from the myriad of spectacular shows — shows that put the Roman Circus to shame. If all the hustle and bustle is not your cup of tea, wander outside the city gates to the amazing array of natural wonders nearby, such as Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire.

Bottom line: whether you’re the Vegas type or neophyte, amateur gambler or Elvis impersonator, the one who wants to go or has to go, with the Caesars Palace deal, it’s a gamble you are sure to win.

Book now for 10% off this trip, or any Escape, when you use promo code SPR10TRIP at checkout through May 3.

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“I Do” Deals Part 2; Travel Edition

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Planning a wedding can be a supremely pricey undertaking, but don’t let perfecting the main event prevent you from having the bachelorette party or honeymoon of your dreams. You can have your three-tiered cake, and eat it too, thanks to these destination deals:

Our Bets on the Bachelor(ette):

  • Stay and play at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel, which boasts 12 restaurants, a comedy club, two nightclubs, and spa amenities galore. Our deal at more than 50 percent savings makes it the perfect place to please every member of your motley crew.
  • For a taste of the tropics, pack your bags for the Playa del Carmen Resort in Cancun. It’s all-inclusive, more than 40 percent off, and is just the ticket for some sun-kissed R&R as the big day approaches.
  • Outdoorsy types will have a field day at Murphy’s Resort in Estes Park, Colo. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park, check out local wineries and breweries, and just wait until you see those spectacular starry nights.

For the Honeymoon:

  • If you dream of a picturesque honeymoon on white sands, The Royal Hawaiian is the place for you. The cabana-lined pool and two-mile stretch of beach provide the picture of privacy for you and your new Mr. or Mrs.
  • For some laid-back luxury, this 11-day trip to Athens and the Greek Isles is the way to go. Spend three nights each in Athens, Paros, and Santorini for a perfect mix of history, romance, and relaxation.
  • For an experience all your own, Stonefield Estate Resort in St. Lucia has your (potentially new) name written all over it. Relax in a private, one-bedroom villa with see-forever views of the Caribbean dreamscape.

See our previous blog post for tips on wedding gifts and can’t-miss beauty buys.

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